Tomorrow is the anniversary of the debut of “Big Bertha” gun by the Germans in 1918, it is anniversary of Patrick Henry’s famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death” (1775) and it is Pakistan’s Republic Day.

While in Costa Rica, really enjoyed their Gallo Pinto.  It is like potato salad in America.  Everyone eats it and it’s generally made the same.  Generally speaking, you saute diced onions and red bell pepper in garlic and oil.  At the end, add cilantro.  Add cooked white rice and basically any beans.  It is usually black or pinto beans. You then season it with about four tablespoons of Lizano, which is only made in Lizano Costa Rica.   I found an on-line source for Lizano, Amigo Foods out of Miami.  I ordered it from them and they then sent me an follow up e-mail asking if everything was OK with my experience shopping with them and was I happy with the product.  Yes, it was advertising, to a point, but it was tasteful and not offensive.  (Like the telemarketer with 15 phone calls).  ):

Speaking of tasteful, I certainly wasn’t Thursday.  In fact, I was quite the ass.  I really feel bad.  When we did my newest room, Bromeliad, I specified the paint colors with Sherman Williams colors.  There’s a Sherman Williams store right down the street from me, so it’s convenient and I’m somewhat supporting a local business.  I’ve been using them since I bought my Inn and have a file in my computer with all the colors I’ve used in each room and it’s very easy to get more paint to touch-up or re-paint a room.  Well,this contractor subbed the painting out and the painter took my color chips to Master Works and had them “match” the colors.  They kept the cans of paint discretely out of sight.  I had them paint the room in a flat paint because I was planning on doing a faux finish on the wall above the bed.  Last summer I decided not to do the faux over the bed.  Instead I decided hang a piece of the tin ceiling pieces I have in the basement to give some texture over the bed.  I went to Sherman Williams with the Master Work Paint can and they matched the color up to one of theirs in a semi gloss.  I painted the ceiling panel and hung it between the two prints you see in the picture (obviously the picture on the link was before this project).  You never want flat paint on the walls of a guest room, marks stain it.  With a semi gloss or gloss, generally you can just wipe the mark off with a damp cloth.  I was getting a fair amount of marks on the walls and decided while it’s slow in the winter and I now that have Oleander’s bathroom project finished, I’d paint all the walls in Bromeliad.  I went down in the basement and got a quart of blue paint off the shelf and called the name and  number in to Sherman Williams and ordered two gallons of paint.  I got the room all prepped and started painting it and the new paint was much lighter than the paint on the walls.  Sometimes, particularly with deep colors, the paint dries a lot different than when wet.  I kept painting and kept looking at the painted walls and they aren’t drying to the color it should be.  At this point, I’m 3/4 of the way around the room and Sherman Williams is closed for the day.  I decided to finish the walls so when I get the paint color correct, I’d be dealing with the same thing throughout the room.  I slapped some of the new paint on the piece of tin ceiling.  The next morning, I take the gallon can, the quart and the tin ceiling panel down to Sherman Williams and proceeded to throw a fit.  It got to the point that Rick, the manager came out and was dealing with me.  He’s telling me the color on the quart and the color on the gallon look to be the same and took them both out to their work area to take samples.  This past summer, I had also ordered a quart of the teal I use for the exterior trim for touch up.  I ordered two gallons of my exterior trim paint (aquaduct) instead of the correct quart (aquarium).  I couldn’t apologize enough and Rick was the the perfect manager saying things like “If this is the worst that happens to me today, it’s going to be a good day.  Don’t worry about it.”    While they were mixing the paint, I ran the tin ceiling piece, quart and gallon cans down to my Inn.  When I returned to Sherman Williams to get the new paint, Rick was in the middle of the store and handed me the new gallon.  I had my wallet out and looked at him and he said “It’s on me”.  I said “No, it was my mistake”.  He said “Let me be a nice guy”.  He has ensured that I will ALWAYS use Sherman Williams in the future.

Speaking of Oleander, here’s it finished:

One of the reasons for refinishing the walls, was I added a shower to the tub and even though we had the wainscoting pretty protected with shower curtains, water was getting on it behind the tub and the finish was washed away and the wood was going to start getting damaged.  After refinishing the wainscoting, my plan was to put 1/8″ sheet of plexiglass over that section of wainscoting to protect it.  I went up to Eastern Glass and Mirror up over the West End where I had been getting my glass and plexiglass since moving up here.  I’ve had the feeling that they kept getting more and more expensive each time I got something from them.  I really don’t look for warm and fuzzy from a glass person, but they’ve never been very friendly and I’ve been a customer for seven years.  When I ordered the piece for Oleander, their price really seemed over the top.  So when I got home, I looked in the phone book for someone else and came across Cully Glass over here on the Northside.  I called and got directions and stopped by with exactly what I was looking for.  Jack Cully’s price was significantly less that Eastern’s price and Jack is Mr. Personality.

One of the things on my long list of projects has been having the mirror over the bathroom sink in Oleander re-silvered.  There’s not a lot of people that do that anymore.  None in Pittsburgh that I could find, but there does seem to be two in Pennsylvania.  I’ve been planning on contacting them, but haven’t gotten around to it.  The mirror over the sink is a rectangular mirror with two oval mirrors hinged each hinged to opposite sides of the rectangular mirror.  Somehow during this project the center mirror actually got cracked.  So Wednesday,I took it off the wall and brought it down to Jack to take a look at it.  He was pretty busy and told me just to leave it.  I told him I was OK if he couldn’t get to it right away, he could just measure it and I’d pick it up “as is” and when he has time he can take care of it.  He said to leave it and he’d look into it later.  He called me Thursday morning to tell me it was finished.  I love great business persons.  His phone number is 412-321-5150 and he’s located at 1301 Beaver Avenue, down in Chateau.  He shares a building with Lenzer bus services around back of that building.

OK, restrain yourselves.  I know Easter is next Sunday, but think twice before going out buying a cute bunny.  Gretchen Fieser of the WPHS says they put more than 300 rabbits up for adoption last year, most were surrendered later summer/early fall when the “cuteness” factor ran it’s course and reality set in.  #1 rabbits are a long term commitment, they live up to ten years.  #2 not all veterinarians treat them.  #3 you can’t buy “bunny food” like dog food.  Their diet of hay and vegetables has to be made each day.  #4 rabbits need as much veterinary attention as dogs and cats.  #5 they have a hyper active digestive system and pass around 260 pellets a day.  Now on the bright side, rabbits aren’t all boring and indifferent as their reputation suggests.  You’d be pretty boring if you lived your life in a small cage (you might already be pretty boring and not live in a cage-just kidding).  🙂  Rabbits are actually pretty friendly, affectionate and fairly curious.  If you are thinking about a rabbit, why not adopt one?  Adult rabbits are pretty much as cute as bunnies are.  There’s several shelters that have rabbits for adoption, like WPHS down the street from me, there’s Rabbit Wranglers and Animal Friends over in Killbuck.

The Mexican Grocery Las Palmas Carniceria has a third location.  I’ve been aware of the one over in Brookline and Oakland, but was unaware they had one down in Little Washington on Chestnut Street.  In case you haven’t been, they are well stocked Latin American grocery stores and butcher shops.  They also have great taco stands outside their stores, but only go in nice weather.  There’s not a lot of shelter or seating.

Have a great weekend,


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